ITV rebrand goes for the Robbie Williams look

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The Independent Online

In its latest bid to cling on to eyeballs in the increasingly competitive television arena, ITV has unveiled a £3m rebrand that compares its flagship channel to the pop star Robbie Williams.

The old-style yellow and blue idents and celebrity endorsements, which have appeared on ITV for the past three years, have been ditched in favour of new "emotional" marketing and a colour-coded system of logos.

ITV fears that its main terrestrial channel ITV1 lacks a clear identity and has "eclipsed" its new digital channels, ITV2, 3 and 4, from view.

In contrast, the BBC's image is well defined as the "dad" figure producing programmes that are good for you, while Channel 4 is the " cool brother".

Over the past year, the broadcaster has interviewed 6,000 viewers and 600 of its own employees to work out how it can sculpt a clearer identity for its portfolio of channels.

The result is a rebranding exercise that compares ITV2, the digital channel for "hedonistic" 16- to 34-year-olds, to Hollywood star Cameron Diaz, drama channel ITV3 to the actor Sheila Hancock and new men's channel ITV4 to the James Bond actor Daniel Craig.

ITV1 has a new gold logo and is represented by clips of real people displaying the gamut of emotions, from children rolling down a hill to a woman crying alone in bed.

The network has identified two key groups who currently "actively reject " ITV. The first is "plugged in achievers" ­ mainly male, for whom television is low down their list of priorities, compared to technology, clothes and wine. This group prefers the BBC, but ITV hopes the rebrand will persuade them to watch ITV4 instead.

The second group is of older "cultural connoisseurs" who are not keen on television and will be among the last to upgrade to digital, spending their time gardening, reading books, contemplating politics and shopping at Waitrose, whom ITV hopes will tune into ITV3.

Simon Shaps, ITV's director of television, said: "Some people might think that three years is quite a short period of time since the last significant rebranding. But in that three-year period an awful lot has happened in television. There are an awful lot of new channels, programmes and celebrities."

Mr Shaps insisted the broadcaster was not abandoning its heartland viewers. "We need and won't sacrifice the mass audience that have loved ITV for 50 years. But we will ensure that by modernising our output, we will continue to attract this more elusive audience."